California, or southern, sea otters are listed as threatened under the federal ESA and fully protected under California state law. The Southwest stock of northern sea otters in Alaska is listed as threatened under the ESA. In Canada, the sea otter population in British Columbia is classified as threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).
All of the sea otters in the U.S. are protected under the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act.
All sea otters are included in Appendix I of CITES.